I read an article last night that gave an inside look at how the online insurance company Policy Genius got their name.
The company founder started out with Know It Owl, explaining, “We thought it was a clever play on the term know-it-all.”
The article went on to explain that when they started talking to potential investors, vendors and users, they had a problem. With a constant need to both spell and explain the name, they knew they needed a new name.
They came up with 5 steps:
1) The big name dump
2) Structure brainstorming
3) Cut the crap
4) Judge by color
5) Test people’s memories
I am going to focus on number 3, you should read the full article on Entrepreneur.com to see all 5 in depth.
Cut the crap
Between the Google Doc and the brainstorming, they had hundreds of names and started eliminating them in phases. First: “Can you imagine saying your company name to a Wall Street Journal reporter?” That wiped out many. (Bye, “Harmadillo”!) Then they nixed any similar to competitors’, names that could come off as unintentionally wrong (a classic of the form: Pen Island) and names they couldn’t get a dot-com domain for.
This should give some food for thought to domainers who don’t want to spend the money on expensive, quality domain names and fancy themselves as a brandable domain names expert. Take a look at how a real startup with funding and a business plan goes about naming.
The last part of the step will of course get some blowback from new gtld investors who believe that a new gtld can be the perfect solution. There are startups building on non coms but it’s still prevalent in the minds of many would be startups to get the .com.
Policy Genius was certainly the right choice over Know It Owl.